CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In a back-and-forth affair that featured seven lead changes between in-state foes, the West Virginia University baseball team beat Marshall in 13 innings, 11-10, on Tuesday night in Charleston, West Virginia.
On a rainy evening at Appalachian Power Park, the Mountaineers (20-18) and Thundering Herd (17-21) scored runs in nine of the first 15 half innings before going scoreless in the next nine half innings, from the bottom of the eighth to the bottom of the 12th. In a 10-10 game, WVU broke through with an RBI single in the top of the 13th off the bat of junior second baseman Kyle Gray.
“I’d stay out here all night if I have to to win a game, and I thought we were going to have to for a while,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “That’s one of the ugliest games you’ll ever see two teams play. I think there were 21 walks between the two teams, eight errors, multiple hit by pitches. It’s not a great game, but it’s really hard to win an extra-inning game on the road. It’s really hard to do, so when you do that, somebody has to do something really well.
“Our offense was really good again, and once we got to Cody Wood on the mound, Cody threw really well, Alek Manoah threw really well, BJ (Myers) threw really well. When you win games, somebody has to do some good things, and a lot of guys did that.”
West Virginia improves to 46-24 all-time vs. Marshall. The Mountaineers have won five in a row in the series, seven of the last eight and 16 of the last 19.
WVU scored its 11 runs on 15 hits, while Marshall scored 10 runs on 12 hits. Both teams committed four errors. West Virginia stranded 13 runners on base and Marshall left 17 on.
The game was tied at 10-10 after eight innings before the Mountaineers finally broke through in the 13th inning to take an 11-10 lead. A leadoff walk to junior right fielder Darius Hill was followed by a single by sophomore first baseman Marques Inman to put runners on the corners. That’s when junior second baseman Kyle Gray delivered again, with a single through the right side to score Hill from third.
Gray had a team-best four RBIs with two hits, including his seventh home run of the season and 10th of his career. Hill also homered, his fourth of the year and 11th of his career, and had two hits and an RBI with a pair of runs scored. Gray (15 games) and Hill (14) both extended their career-long hit streaks, while Gray (16), junior left fielder Braden Zarbnisky (15), Hill (14) and Inman (13) also extended their career-long reached-base streaks in the contest.
On the mound, sophomore right-hander Alek Manoah pitched 3.0 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win. He allowed two hits with four strikeouts while holding Marshall off the board in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings. Manoah was one of eight Mountaineer pitchers in the contest.
The Mountaineers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, scoring first for the 20th time this season and scoring a run in the first inning for the 16th time. A sacrifice fly by Inman scored the first run, while junior second baseman Kyle Gray reached on a fielder’s choice that brought in the second run.
Marshall answered with three runs in the bottom of the first, on a three-run home run by Ray Pastrana.
West Virginia answered right back in the third to regain a 6-3 lead. WVU scored four runs, all with two outs, beginning with Gray’s two-run home run to right field. Freshman third baseman Tyler Doanes followed with an RBI double and advanced to third on the throw after junior catcher Ivan Gonzalez scored. Junior shortstop Jimmy Galusky then doubled home Doanes for West Virginia’s fourth run of the inning. Galusky’s double hit just below the top of the left-field wall, just missing a home run.
The Herd cut the lead to one, at 6-5, in the bottom of the third. Both runs came on a two-out, bases-loaded single up the middle and were unearned after a fielding error. The runs came after freshman left-hander Jackson Wolf relieved sophomore right-handed starter Isaiah Kearns with one out and the bases loaded.
In 2.1 innings, Kearns allowed five runs, three earned, on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
WVU left two on in the fourth after back-to-back two-out walks, and Marshall responded to take the lead in the bottom half. MU scored two runs, both unearned, on a pair of singles with two outs.
The Mountaineers wasted no time tying the game up, with a run in the fifth to make it 7-7. With two on and one out, Zarbnisky singled to score sophomore pinch-runner Chase Illig from second.
Senior right-hander Shane Ennis took the mound in the fifth and pitched a clean inning with the help of a 1-3-6 pick-off to end the inning.
Both teams were held scoreless in the sixth, and West Virginia regained a 9-7 lead in the seventh with back-to-back two-out, run-scoring base hits. Illig singled and took second on a failed pickoff attempt. He scored on a single by Galusky to put the Mountaineers back in the lead. Zarbnisky followed with an RBI double off the top of the right-field fence.
Marshall again answered with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 10-9 lead. Two runs were unearned on a pair of fielding errors, which helped allow the first four batters in the inning to reach safely. Sophomore right-hander Cody Wood got all three outs in the inning, with a strikeout, a sac fly and a flyout.
Once again though, WVU answered right back thanks to Hill’s home run in the top of the eighth. His fourth long ball of the season and 10th of his career cleared the right-field wall and tied the game at 10-10.
The game went into extras thanks to Wood stranding a pair of runners in the bottom of the ninth inning. He issued a leadoff walk and a two-out intentional walk, but did not allow a run.
After neither team went more than three consecutive scoreless half innings in the first seven-and-a-half innings, the Mountaineers and Thundering Herd went nine consecutive scoreless half innings from the bottom of the eighth to until the bottom of the 12th. It was Wood in the eighth and ninth and Manoah in the 10th and 11th who kept Marshall off the board.
Wood and Manoah’s scoreless stretch set up the 13th inning for the Mountaineers, where Gray delivered his eventual game-winning single.
Senior right-hander BJ Myers pitched a scoreless bottom of the 13th to secure the win and his first career save. He hit a batter and walked one, but stranded both runners on.
This weekend, from April 27-29, West Virginia hosts No. 19 Texas at Monongalia County Ballpark. The Big 12 series begins on Friday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. ET. The series continues on Saturday at 4 p.m. before Sunday’s finale at 1 p.m.
Press Release Courtesy: WVUsports.com
Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS